Saving for a holiday? Or need a new car? Whatever you’re saving for, cutting down on unnecessary spending is a fast track way to get you there.
But don’t worry - this doesn’t mean you have to live off baked beans!
Here are 10 everyday ways you can save for what’s really important - without dramatically changing your lifestyle.
1. Walk, cycle, carpool
Commuting is expensive. Save yourself the cost – and stress – by walking or cycling to work. If you live far away, see if you can carpool with your workmates.
2. Shop smart
Saving isn’t necessarily about buying less. You can cut your spending with a bit of planning. This means making a list – and sticking to it. Not only will you avoid buying unnecessary items, you will also save yourself from doing double runs to the supermarket. Doing some quick research before you buy bigger items will also ensure you get the best deal.
3. Get coupon savvy
Take advantage of coupons and reward programs – they‘re there to be used! If you’re a regular shopper at a store, sign up for a loyalty program like flybuys. These often give you discounts on your shopping and even special deals. If you’re an online shopper, look out for coupon vouchers in your email and choose a delivery day with no charge.
4. Embrace the outdoors
Lose the expensive gym membership and take to the great outdoors. Go for a run, cycle or swim in an ocean pool. Join a sports team or play with friends. If you’re into fitness, you’ll find there are many to stay in shape without paying huge monthly membership fees.
5. Be more energy efficient
Heard of phantom power? What about vampire power? These are both terms to describe the power your devices are used - even when they’re turned off. In other words, if an electrical appliance is plugged into a powerpoint, it’s using energy.
According to the Rocky Mountain Institute, this phantom power could account for almost 40 percent of your electricity bill! A more conservative study in the journal Energy Research and Social Science suggests the rate is between 4 and 12 percent. The message in either case is clear – unplug your unused electrical devices!
Turning off the lights when you leave a room and switching to more energy efficient LED lights will also help reduce your bills.
6. Take care of your car
If you have a car, you can make long-term savings by keeping it in good shape. Make a habit of stopping by the petrol station and inflating your tyres to their optimal level. This will help your petrol last longer.
7. Plan your meals ahead
If you’ve had a late night at work, take-away Thai can seem like an excellent option – but it’s not the most cost-effective! Planning your meals a week ahead will help you resist the urge to buy quick and easy takeaway food and save you the extra dollars. Wait for the weekend to treat yourself and instead, keep your kitchen stocked with all the ingredients you need.
8. Start a garden
Growing your own food is a great way to cut down on everyday spending. Start a small herb garden or plant your very own tomatoes. You’ll not only save money, you’ll get to enjoy the taste of your very own, freshly grown fruit and vegetables.
9. Join community events
Getting out of the house doesn’t have to be expensive. With a little bit of research, you’ll discover there are lots of free things to do. Search your local city (Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Darwin, Hobart, Perth and Canberra) or local council website for listings of art openings, public talks, community theatre and classic cinema. Or sign up to a community bulletin to get updates on fun, free events happening in your area.
10. Buy a thermos
While we all love a hot cup of caffeine made by someone else in the morning, it’s definitely not a cheap habit. Forget the $3.50 takeaway coffee – and bring your own. By snubbing the café for your own homemade coffee, you could save upwards of $70 a month!